False Indigenous identity: Ontario First Nations take to the barricades

Gathered in Winnipeg for a two-day summit on Indigenous identity fraud, Ontario’s First Nations intend to share their serious concerns on this subject. In their sights: federal Bill C-53 which aims to recognize, among others, the Métis Nation of Ontario (NMO), from which they reject any identity legitimacy.

For us, the First Nations, it is an existential questionsaid Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare in his opening speech. We are attacked from all sides by collectives claiming indigenous identities that they do not possess. They are trying to gain recognition at the federal level by appropriating our lands, our traditions and our history.

The summit, considered historic by organizers, is being hosted jointly by the Manitoba Metis Federation and Ontario Chiefs on Tuesday and Wednesday. The event, which brings together First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders from across Canada, is also an opportunity for communities to express themselves officially on the phenomenon of identity theft.

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The regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Ontario speaks about an existential question. (Archives)

Photo: The Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick

A phenomenon that goes beyond the borders of Ontario and affects all spheres of the country, indicated the regional chief. These identity thieves are becoming more and more numerous. We see politicians, bureaucrats, academics and many others suddenly identifying as Indigenous to advance their personal careers and access opportunities meant for first peoples.

A possible recognition of the NMO would be a real catastrophe, underlines the indigenous leader, because in addition to undermining the multi-millennial presence of the First Nations on their territories, it would call into question the signed treaties which guarantee relations with Ottawa, he specifies. We will not let this happen. The time has come to protect our children and the future of our communities.

We are ready to nip this bill in the bud, we will do it publicly and loudly.

A quote from Glen Hare, Ontario Regional Manager

The tabling in June 2023 of the controversial federal Bill C-53 – currently in third reading – which would enshrine the autonomy of the NMOoutraged the First Nations of Ontario, but also angered members of the Manitoba Métis Federation, the Red River Métis, who believe that it threatens their own ancestral rights.

years. What is at stake here is our future. We therefore stand alongside the First Nations to prevent the enactment of this bill”,”text”:”This is a fight that I have been waging for over 20 years. What is at stake here is our future. We therefore stand alongside the First Nations to prevent the enactment of this bill”}}”>It’s a fight I’ve been fighting for over 20 years. What is at stake here is our future. We therefore stand alongside First Nations to prevent the enactment of this billsaid David Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Métis Federation.

Mr. Chartrand, who never uttered the words “Métis de l’Ontario” has instead denounced groups that he describes as impostors. These people are coming to take over what we are. Tell me, why should I let a thief into my house?

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David Chartrand is the president of the Manitoba Métis Federation. (Archive photo)

Photo: The Canadian Press / Aaron Vincent Elkaim

He recalled the past resilient of the Métis people of Manitoba and their struggles throughout history against colonial policies. Louis Riel had one fear, that of seeing his community be overwhelmed by settlers from the east. But he had an even greater fear, that of being overwhelmed from within, and that’s exactly what’s happening.

I truly believe that we must do everything in our power to fight what is ours and protect what is ours. These fake people won’t stand a chance.

A quote from David Chartrand, President of the Manitoba Métis Federation

Present at the summit, Chief Scott McLeod of the Nipissing First Nation in Ontario blasted what he considers a fabricated narrative NMO. The leader regularly opposes Bill C-53, which treats the Ontario Métis organization as revisionist.

They do not exist anywhere, neither in our history, nor in our language and our songs. We don’t even have a word for them. We must not let them rewrite history to include people who were never present in our territories.

The chief also recalled his youth within his community, at a time when elders were afraid to teach young people ancestral knowledge, for fear of being punished or sent to prison by the federal authorities who then prohibited cultural practices. .

1960and M1970, we were trying to preserve our identity despite centuries of repression and oppression. We struggled for years, but now we are faced with people trying to be us. Although the crisis is different, it is another battle we must fight for our existence.”,”text”:”In the 1960s and 1970s, we were trying to preserve our identity despite centuries of repression and oppression. We struggled for years, but now we are faced with people trying to be us. Even though the crisis is different, it is another battle that we must fight for our existence.”}}”>In the 1960s and 1970s, we tried to preserve our identity despite centuries of repression and oppression. We struggled for years, but now we are faced with people trying to be us. Even though the crisis is different, it is another battle we must fight for our existence.

In addition to discussions on Bill C-53, the summit will address several issues related to Indigenous identity fraud, particularly in Quebec and the Maritimes.

There are mixed race and mixed race

In French, the word Métis can be confusing. With a lower case, it designates a person who is the result of the union of two parents of different ethnic origins, according to the Usito dictionary.

However, in its constitutional sense, the word Métis (with a capital letter) does not refer to all people of mixed Aboriginal and European ancestry. Rather, it refers to distinct peoples who, in addition to their mixed ancestry, have their own customs, ways of living and collective identity recognizable and distinct from those of their First Nations or Inuit ancestors.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court, through the Powley decision, specifies that these peoples took off before the Europeans consolidated their hold on the territory.

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